The peoples of the Far East have long been known as the keepers of ancient healing secrets. More and more people are beginning to feel that modern medicine, despite the miracles it can work, falls short in some respects. And so they are turning to the traditional methods of healing honed over thousands of years in mysterious Asia.
Sitting as it does on the crossroads between China and India, Phuket has received the benefits of both cultures' understanding of medicine and how the body works. Healing in Thailand has always been a spiritual practice, dating back to the time when temples were the centres of all knowledge in Thailand. In those days temples served not only as places of worship, but also as schools and hospitals. People would come to the monks with their illnesses and injuries and the monks would use their understanding of balance and energy to restore health and harmony to their flocks.
In modern days, despite all the advances of modern science, many Thai people still rely on the traditional healing methods to cure not only bodily hurts, but to ease the soul and restore proper energy flow to the body. Many westerners are following suit and augmenting the traditional Thai methods with restorative arts developed around the world.
Acupuncture in Phuket
Although considered by westerners as a 'new', 'alternative' form of medicine, the practice of acupuncture was first documented in the Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine), which, at 4,700 years old, is possibly the world's most ancient medical textbook. It describes the techniques used for healing the body by dint of inserting very fine needles into various energy centres around the body to enhance and balance the flow of energy. In Taoist cosmology, upon which Chinese medicine is based, an energy known as Chi flows through everything. Chi is similar to The Force or duct tape in that it has a dark side and a light side and holds everything together. The two sides of Chi are not opposed, however, they must be in balance. If they become out of balance illness and pain are the result. Acupuncture restores the balance by stimulating the flow of Chi along 'Meridians'. Meridians are areas where the paths of Chi are close to the surface and easily accessible by needles.
Acupuncture is a very safe and effective method of treating a variety of afflictions. It has been proven to be useful in treating health problems ranging from chronic pain to allergies, even some forms of paralysis. Additionally, acupuncture can be effective in treating psychological disorders such as depression and overeating. Studies conducted in the United States have found acupuncture to have very high success rates in treating substance addiction, especially when combined with other forms of treatment such as counselling.
Acupuncture is relatively painless and patients only feel a slight sensation (called the Da-Chi) when the needle is inserted. In fact, acupuncture is so effective at preventing or curing pain that it is often used as a surgical anaesthetic.
There are several clinics offering acupuncture treatment in Phuket and most hospitals have trained acupuncturists on staff to augment or replace western style treatments.
Phuket International Hospital
44 Chalermprakiat Rd
Located between Big C and Tesco Lotus on the bypass road.
Tel: +66 (0)7 624 9400, +66 (0)7 621 0936
Bangkok Phuket Hospital
2/1 Hongyok Utis Rd, Phuket City
Located in Phuket City.
Tel: +66 (0)7 625 4421
Dr. V Cosmetic Surgery Rejuvenation Clinic
243 Rat-U-Thit Rd, Patong
Tel: +66 (0)7 629 2931, +66 (0)1 657 9973; Fax: +66 (0)7 629 2932
Internal Cleansing and Detoxification
Let's face it - life in the West just isn't as healthy as it used to be. Every day you have all kinds of poisons and toxins enter your body. From the smog in the air to the preservatives in your Pop-Tart modern life is many things but natural usually isn't one of them. A program of fasting and detoxification could be just what the alternative health practitioner ordered to flush all of that out of your body and get yourself back to a more natural state.
The Atsumi Healing Center.
34/18 Soi Pattana, Sai Yuan Rd, Rawai
Tel: +66 (0)7 628 8075, +66 (0)1 272 0571
It is slightly misleading to use the word 'meditation' to refer to the practice employed in Thai Buddhism. Meditation in Thailand does not involve daydreaming, auto-hypnosis or making the mind 'blank'. Rather it means to concentrate single-mindedly upon a single object or thought. To truly focus every aspect of one's being on a single thing takes an enormous amount of concentration and mental discipline. The benefit of meditation is not to found in the object of contemplation, but in the act of contemplation itself.
Many westerners, growing weary of the constant barrage of information inflicted upon their consciousness by western society, are turning to meditation to help bring their lives back into focus. The practice of meditation does not necessarily mean giving up the enjoyment of life, quite the opposite, in fact. Serious practice of meditation allows one to be more aware of life and to enjoy every moment of it mindfully.
Anyone can practice and benefit from meditation; you don't have to be a monk, or even a Buddhist, you simply have to be willing to make a sincere effort. For those just starting out meditation can be extremely demanding and difficult but if you stay with it, the benefits of increased wisdom, clarity and serenity will make themselves apparent.
The Mental Development Centre in Honour of His Majesty the King
Moo 1, Karon
Tel: +66 (0)1 537 2829, +66 (0)1 891 8211
Yoga in Phuket
Yoga is a discipline that strives to unite mind, body and spirit through the practice of stretches, poses and breathing techniques. Its origins date back 5,000 years to the pre-historic civilizations of northern India, where it was developed as a means to enlightenment. Today, practitioners all over the world are discovering the benefits of Yoga, which include greater flexibility, strength and co-ordination. Yoga has much more to offer beyond the mere physical benefits, however. Devotees of Yoga say that the practice encourages calmness of spirit, heightens awareness and drastically reduces stress.
Any spa worth its salt will offer Yoga classes as part of its system of treatments and most major hotels also have Yoga instructors. There are also private classes available, led by experienced teachers who have studied the art for years. Although Yoga embraces many concepts of Hinduism and Buddhism, it is not necessary to subscribe to these belief systems to enjoy and benefit from Yoga practice.